My youngest turned 6 today. He’s got the coolest career track I know. He wants to be Batman. Some days it’s Spiderman. Other days, Superman, but no matter how you slice it those are cool ambitions. And it’s one of the luxuries of being 6 that no dream is silly, and anything is still possible.
So, my sons ambitions remind me that one of mine has always been to write things worth reading that others might actually read…and so, in honor of my Bear (my son), I’m writing this story about another very different six year old. Whether it’s something worth reading remains to be seen. 🙂 This story takes place over a series of days, so I’m going to post it here over a series of days as well. I hope you enjoy it.
warning: This blog only contains the first 5 of 7 chapters. The last two chapters have been removed as the entire story is now available on iBooks or Amazon. Just 2.99 for the digital version. Hard copy arriving soon through Amazon. Feel free to read the first 5 here and decide if you want to purchase my collection which includes the full version: A Little Serial in the Morning.
I wouldn’t have seen him at all if he hadn’t spoken. Maybe it was because he was so small. He barely took up any space on that bus stop bench at all. Later (but certainly not then) I realized that he was far too small to be sitting there all by himself. He couldn’t have been more than 6 or 7. That was not my first thought on that first day though.
“Now I’ve missed the bus!”
That was my first thought. In fact, it was my only thought, my whole world of thoughts. Even when he spoke to me, it was just a bit of background noise, a buzzing mosquito, the squeak of a screen door. Maybe it was the incongruity of what he said as much as anything else.
But, as a child too young and rude to know his place and his patience is likely to do, he simply said it again, louder, as I scanned the street anxiously cursing my lateness–hoping the bus was later still. And then he said it again, louder, till it finally made it’s way through my clogged senses just enough to annoy.
My impatience turned to surprise, and even anger when I rotated to find that the source of the noise was this child. I was about to berate him for being out here by himself, at my bus stop, when he said it again, and the incongruity of it made me pause—
“You missed Batman. He was just here.”
It was weird really. The way he said it…just…well it provoked me. Stupidly I was immediately pulled to his level, arguing like a 6 year old but with more spite.
“Did not. There is no batman”
“Yes there is! He was just here. He left on the bus just before you got here.”
ugh! The bus had just been here. That was truly depressing.
“Yeah, well, figures. I would miss Batman. Story of my life.”
The boy nodded sagely, like he already knew this about me.
“Not me, “ He said, “I would never miss anything as important as that!”
I had no idea what to say at that point, and my mind was rapidly filling up, drowning out the little boy once again, shrinking him back to his former place on that bench; drowning me too, all the things I had missed for 42 years, all the important things…
I just stood there suffocating, back to the boy, memory of him already behind me as well, receding behind my own barb-wire thoughts. When the bus arrived, I climbed aboard as quickly as possible, checking my watch for the time. When I was seated I happened to glance out the window at the empty bus stop. The boy was gone, and absently I wondered…
”Why would batman need to take the bus?”